SALT LAKE CITY — UPDATE 3/24/18 (3:56 p.m.) - The victim in the audio recording where Bishop admits to some sexual misconduct has issued a statement.
(KUTV) - Leaders inside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were told on five different occasions by two different women of alleged inappropriate sexual conduct by Joseph Bishop, the former president of the Missionary Training Center.
Despite this, the church never took any official action against the now 85-year-old man who now lives in Chandler, Arizona.
One woman reported to church leaders on 4 separate occasions about an incident that she says occurred with Bishop 34 years ago. Another woman reported her claims at least once. Despite it all, Bishop is currently a member in good standing.
On Thursday night Ron Leavitt, a former single’s ward president, says one of the women came to him the mid '80s and said Bishop abused her, taking her and another woman to a small basement room at the MTC and showed them pornography.
In a statement released by the LDS Church on Tuesday, we were told that in 2010, that same woman repeated the allegations to church leaders saying she, “had been sexually assaulted by" Bishop. They say they reported the incident to police, then referred the matter on to Bishop’s local ecclesiastical leaders. They were “unable to verify the allegations,” says the press release, “ and, "they did not impose any formal Church discipline,” says the church press release.
The release goes on to say the woman again reached out to the church, repeating the allegations to a stake president in Pueblo, CO. We are told no official action was taken. Then in January of 2018, the church was again contacted, this time by an attorney for the woman. The attorney told the church about a recording of a confrontation she had with the Bishop.
Today, the church revealed that a second woman also came forward at some point in 2010 to accuse Bishop of abuse. Again, Bishop’s leaders confronted him with the allegations, according to a press release, “he denied, and local leaders did not feel they could pursue church discipline.”
That means in 2010, Bishop’s local ecclesiastical leaders received 2 different reports from 2 different women of alleged abuse by Bishop, but those leaders did not take any official action against him.
Today we spoke with the attorney for one of the women, Craig Vernon of Idaho, says although there are now 2 women who have come forward with accusations, he thinks it’s likely there are as many as three victims.